tv PBS News Hour PBS October 14, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. chile and the world celebrated the successful rescue of the 33 miners. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: jonathan miller of "independent television news" recaps the euphoria from last night. and we look at the spirit and ingenuity that went into pulling off the mission. >> lehrer: then, paul solman examines the paperwork problems behind the foreclosure crisis. >> my concern is if you're going to take away somebody's house, let's follow the law when we do this, so let's have it done correctly. >> brown: special correspondent betsy stark reports on the battle for the youth vote in a rust-belt district of indiana.
>> are these students fired up to vote? >> most of them don't know there's an election. >> reporter: they don't know there's an election? >> it's not a part of their day-to-day lives right now. >> lehrer: and judy woodruff talks to former vice president walter mondale about his new autobiography. that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> this is the engine that connects abundant grain from the american heartland to haran's best selling whole wheat, while keeping 60 billion pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere every year. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> chevron. this is the power of human energy. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century.
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: today was another day of celebration in chile as president pinera visited all of the 33 miners at the hospital today. meanwhile, pinera says he'll triple the budget of the country's mine safety agency and vowed that chile will never permit miners to work in unsafe and inhuman conditions again. jonathan miller of "independent television news" filed this report from copiapo, chile.
>> reporter: a grainy cave cam captures the moment at 6:00 p.m. that the shift leader hugs his rescuers below and climbs into the cramped escape pod to begin his laugh mile 11-minute journey back to the world above and back to life. (cheers and applause) thousands gathered to share the moment in the main square of copiapo, the city closest to the mine. then at 2:50 exactly, ecstatic expectation explodes into sheer exuberance. (cheers and applause). >> reporter: national catharsis in the outpouring of relief, of pride, and delight. (cheers and applause) (speaking spanish). >> reporter: "i send this kiss
to the world" he yells. "chileans are the best." up at the mine at camp hope, for ten weeks homed the relatives of miners confetti flew and champagne sprayed. the ultimate endurance epic over, the extraction operation flawless, and the 33 men once presumed dead now resurrected. (cheers and applause) 54-year-old luis usura demonstrated powerful leadership ability us there this ordeal, calming his men for 17 days lost in blackness, enforcing rules and rationing their few small tins of tuna. "we have done what the whole world was waiting for" he told chile's president sebastian pinera. "we had strength, we had spirit, we wanted to fight." "you have been relieved, coming
out last like a good captain," the president told him. "you have no idea how all chileans shared your anguish, your hope, your joy. the whole world shared that anguish, hope, and joy in this meticulously choreographed made-for-t.v. drama in real life spectacular. 27-year-old ricardo villaroyal emerged from the capsule. his wife is is due to give birth to their first child. just three meters from the collapse. while he was running away, there was a second collapse. president pain area a visited ricardo and his 32 fellow survivors in hospital in copiapo this morning. they're in good shape considering. one has pneumonia and two needed urgent dental work but most will probably leave hospital today. the popularity of president pinera-- a billionaire-- has soared thanks to the successful
rescue of these humble miners. for them now a huge party, then the interviews and film and book deals. most are unlikely to ever need to go underground again. in the miners' former tomb, once all 33 had left, the last six rescue workers posed for the live t.v. feed with this little sign. "mission accomplished" it reads. one by one, they left. the lights stayed on, the camera rolled, a time capsule never to be reached again. above, they sealed the shaft atop the plan, be lifeline. the rescue had taken 22 hours, 37 minutes. the miners' ordeal had lasted 69 days and eight hours exactly. >> brown: coming up: we'll have more on how the chileans pulled off the rescue. that's followed by the documentation troubles in the foreclosure crisis; the youth vote in an indiana race and walter mondale, on his life in
politics. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: the head of afghanistan's new peace council today said he believes the taliban is ready to take part in serious negotiations. the afghan government recently acknowledged it has engaged in informal reconciliation talks with the taliban. but in kabul, the council's chairman warned the process won't happen overnight. >> ( translated ): there have been meetings and talks. even i have had meetings and talks with some taliban representatives from time to time. and i can feel the interest among the taliban, because there were and still are some taliban who are giving the message of their preparation. but when this preparation turns into real action and good news, it needs time. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. secretary of defense today reiterated u.s. support for the afghan government's peace efforts with the taliban. robert gates said the u.s. has offered advice to the afghans on how to move forward. he spoke today in brussels, belgium. >> it's basically a partnership as we go along with this with clearly the afghans in the lead.
i think we're confident that we have access into this process and plenty of opportunities to make our concerns as well as our suggestions known. >> sreenivasan: those remarks came as eight more nato troops were killed in separate attacks across afghanistan. nato officials did not disclose their nationalities. their deaths raise the toll for the month of october to at least 42. a plot to kill the prime minister of pakistan was foiled today. police arrested seven suspected islamic militants and said they were planning a suicide attack at prime minister yousuf raza gilani's house. the men are also accused of targeting other government officials in assassination plots. a terror plot in europe is still active, according to the u.s. state department's counterterrorism coordinator. earlier this month, american citizens living or traveling in europe were warned to take more precautions because of possible attacks in cities across the continent. daniel benjamin said today the situation remains the same and there are no plans to rescind the travel advisory. a u.s. military report estimates
nearly 77,000 iraqi civilians were killed during the bloodiest chapter of sectarian warfare. the military's count shows 76,939 deaths from early 2004 to mid-2008. but that number falls well below iraqi government figures which are nearly 10,000 deaths higher for roughly the same time period. the new data was discovered by the associated press this week on u.s. central command's web site. it was released without comment or explanation in july. the u.s. justice department has appealed to a federal judge to let the military's don't ask, don't tell policy on gays continue. on tuesday, a federal judge in california ordered the u.s. military to immediately stop enforcing its policy barring gay men and women from openly serving in the military. but the department of justice is duty bound to defend federal statutes when they are challenged. at a town hall event with young people today, president obama said the policy would end on his watch. a federal judge in florida ruled
a health care overhaul lawsuit can move ahead to trial. 20 states are seeking to void the obama administration's health care legislation. in a written ruling, u.s. district judge roger vinson said he wants to hear additional arguments over whether the law is unconstitutional. another federal judge in michigan threw out a similar lawsuit last week. the lawsuits will likely wind up before the u.s. supreme court. the u.s. trade deficit widened sharply in august to $46.3 billion. the commerce department reported for august it was up nearly 9%. and a large chunk of it was a deficit with china, which has reached an all-time high of $28 billion. markets were down slightly on wall street today, after a lackluster jobs report and concerns about questionable bank foreclosures. the dow jones industrial average lost more than a point to close above 11,094. the nasdaq fell nearly six points to close at 2,435. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we return to the story in chile.
as proud as anyone today in that very proud country is president sebastian pinera, who, as we saw, earlier greeted each rescued miner. pinera, who has an economics ph.d from harvard, spoke last night to garent vincent of "independent television news." > i feel extremely happy. i'm so proud of what my country and the chileans have done. this is an example for the whole world. faith, hope, team work. and i think it was extremely difficult. this was an accident that in many other countries would have never been solved the way it was solved in chile. >> brown: and we get three perspectives now on this enormous technical and human accomplishment. joining us are nick evans, a freelance producer working on a documentary about the rescue efforts for the pbs show, "nova." he's at the hospital where the miners are being treated. francisco javier diaz, who
served as an adviser to the former chilean president, michelle bachelet. he's now a senior fellow at a think tank in santiago. and beatriz manz, an anthropologist and professor of ethnic studies at the university of california, berkeley. she was born in chile. nick evans, i want to start with you because you're the one that witnessed the scene. what do you think was the key to pulling this off as a technological feet? >> i think the key was that the president brought in the best experts from all over the world. there was no kind of territorialism. there was no determination that chile could do this by themselves. he's obviously well connected. francisco will know more about this than i will. but he has contacts in the u.s. we were filming with the team on plan "b" who made the successful breakthrough and they are small companies from the u.s., small family run firms that kind of actually made the difference.
basically i think they just organized this very well from the... from day one. there were obviously a few hiccups along the way but in the end they exceeded everyone's expectations. >> brown: fan cisco javier diaz, you're a political scientist, you know political system there. how did it work so well in this case? >> i think the ability of the president to assemble these huge teams that were able to, of course, hire all these technologies abroad but also to organize the large team of chilean engineers, to organize the police, to organize the doctors, social workers. it was a huge, massive enterprise that had to be assembled in a couple days and they did it. i think it's a very big accomplishment for the current government. >> brown: it's a huge task they pulled off but was it within character of the chilean government? that sense of being able to pull together different parts like that? >> well, listen, i believe that
chile has been showing that it does have efficient government since long ago. maybe the former government would have done something very similar to this. but well, we are now talking about this government and we're talking about this case and one has to admit that president pinera did... he made a big bet on solving this issue and he's succeeded and we are proud and grateful about that. >> brown: beatriz manz, i want you to fill in the picture so we understand more about your country and countrymen. is there anything like this in the experience of chile in terms of trying to deal with a disaster like this and pull people together? >> well, yes. i mean, they have been unfortunately chile experienced recurrent natural disasters, especially earthquakes. i'm sure there are very few chileans that have not experienced in one form or another one of these disasters.
so we expect the government to respond effectively and learn from the past response and build on it so we have, as francisco said, we have strong institutions and the society does expect a lot from the government. and in this case it was extraordinary. it was a monumental task and it was pulled off with help from outside and of course the talents within chile. >> brown: beatriz manz, staying with you, i want you to put on your anthropologist hat, if you would, the professional hat. when you look at society, look at institutions, dare i say sort of national character, help us understand how you pulled... how they were able to pull together different groups to come together. >> well, i think you can not separate the national character from the geography of the place.
where chile's located at the end of the world, very isolated, the shape of the country. we're sort of... we have boundaries that, you know, bind us between country, the ma ma jest i can andes to the east, pacific ocean, the driest desert in the world in the north and then the large glaciers in the south. so that even though it's a very long and narrow country, it does bring people together because of that sort of gee groskal isolation within the world. and the natural disasters are part of that character. as i said, there are few chileans that have not experienced this kind of... >> may i add something? >> and therefore can sympathize with what these miners are going through. because many of us have experienced floods or volcano eruptions or earthquakes
especially. we had a huge one in february. so we are watching, there is tension. and, remember, the first 17 days it was just a lonely chilean experience. we did not know whether the miners were alive or not. and i'm sure everyday the ups and the downs and the joy of finding out that they were alive. and then the tension and anxiety whether we would be able to bring them out. so it's... it was a wonderful moment for chile. >> brown: nick evans, you got to witness the people there at the site. i know you've covered a lot of things as a journalist in the past. what stood out for you about the camp itself? about the families? about the way authorities worked with them there? >> i arrived on the fifth of september which was the anniversary... the first month after the mine collapse. and what struck me was camp hope is appropriately named because
people were so positive. all the families were so positive. what struck me, i think, was that spirit of optimism. and that complete faith that their loved ones would be saved. and i think this came from the fact that they spent 17 days not knowing whether they were alive or dead. once they were discovered, once they were found and once the chilean government kind of rolled the rescue operation into progress, they had complete confidence that everything would go well. and their faith was rewarded in the end. it has been a genuine miracle. >> brown: and nick, there was, of course, much talk about how well the government choreograph it had whole thing. that includes working with those families, keeping them informed of what was going on, including the dangers. did you get to see that? did you feel that the families understood all that? >> yeah. i mean, look, there were some bad days. there was a day kind of towards the end of september, middle of
september, end of september, when all the plans... plan "c" wasn't yet up and running. plan a and plan "b" had a few technical problems and suddenly the drilling stops. what reassured the families was all this noise, constant noise in the background of the drilling. when there was silence suddenly it was disturbing and the6ñ mins below were upset, that was communicated to their families, they talk with a daily conference. and there was the this kind of almost spirit of rebellion in the camp. what's going on? and i think the problem was sometimes the government sort of shut down when things were going wrong. they didn't communicate to the media. they didn't communicate to the families for a few hours and in those hours people kind of got upset, rumors went around the camp. but that was... there were very few moments like that, to be honest, everything was very well organized and everything was kept very well appraised of the situation. >> brown: francisco javier diaz, what about the political
and social impact of this going forward? what kind of legacy in the long term but even in the short term? what do you see happening? >> well, i guess that in the short term, of course, this will bring a good approval rating for the government and for the president. of course they have been exposed to long hours on t.v. with... you know, with the good news there. so they will, of course, enjoy good approval ratings. in the long term what we hope is that these will lead us to enhance our labor law, our security and safety for workers to better wages in an industry of mining which is enjoying very good revenues. so the overall better working conditions for the miners. >> brown: beatriz manz, now you have to president and the
government looking at how to make the mining safe in the future. you've got the possibility of these miners as sort of celebrities. what do you see going forward? what do you look for here? >> well, once again chileans will feel very proud of what the country was able to do with this rescue. i'm sure every deal chilean fees very proud when they saw a handwritten sign held by a miner saying "mission accomplished." that was a very proud moment for chile. i think the lasting legacy will be to make sure this never happens again. and more broadly in the world. i mean, the world was watching chile and it brought smiles to hundreds of millions of faces around the world. and hopefully we will all around the world figure out that we need certain regulations and inspections and accountability on the part of companies or government-run enterprises.
>> brown: all right, francisco javier diaz, nick evans and beatriz manz, thank you all very much. >> lehrer: now the growing home foreclosure problem. banks foreclosed on more homes this summer than in any three- month stretch since the housing market soured in 2006. industry group realty-trac reported more than 288,000 properties were lost to foreclosure in the july- september quarter. that's up from nearly 270,000 in the second quarter. but fewer takeovers are expected now that several lenders have suspended foreclosures. they're working to sort out problems with questionable documents. meanwhile, attorneys general in every state and the district of columbia launched a joint investigation yesterday. "newshour" economics
correspondent paul solman has the back-story on the flawed paperwork being used to challenge foreclosures in court. it's the first in a periodic series on the mortgage crisis. and it's all part of his reporting: "making sense of financial news." >> reporter: patricia antrobus lives in a turn of the 20th century house in the bed-stuy section of brooklyn. >> this house, my father bought on the g.i. bill when i was one year old. i love this house, you know, it's my sanctuary. it's my tara. it's everything to me. >> reporter: it's also her money pit. in 2004, antrobus, a school secretary, got a mortgage so she could buy out her siblings. repair bills soon forced a refinance. >> when the roof goes and you have a $6,000 water main break at the same time, you know, i did do a couple of refinances
just to try and keep this place together. >> reporter: she wound up owing nearly half a million dollars. her payments dependent on the tenants upstairs paying rent; her son downstairs helping out. then came the great recession, laying them all off, save antrobus. >> and that just skews the whole thing because i don't have a lot of room and wiggle room, you know, to pay everybody. >> reporter: three years ago, antrobus fell behind; the bank moved in to foreclose. but at the 11th hour, in what might be exhibit a of the current foreclosure freeze gripping the nation, her house was saved by a new york state supreme court judge who'd noticed something fishy in the foreclosure papers. >> 1661 worthington road, west palm beach, florida, suite 100. >> reporter: that's the address given by three financial institutions listed in antrobus
documents, an address judge arthur schack had seen for two other major financial institutions, in other court cases. it didn't add up. >> how do five different banks or entities end up in the same office? why does somebody one week is the vice-president of bank "x," and the next week is the vice- president of bank "y," and then they go back to bank "x" two weeks later? it's just very questionable. >> reporter: when he looked further, schack found enough flaws to begin throwing numerous foreclosures like antrobus's out of court. three years later, the flaws he found have become embodied in robosigners-- employees of gmac, jp morgan-chase, and bank of america, a "newshour" underwriter, each of whom has admitted, under oath, to signing foreclosure papers like robots, at the rate of several thousand a month. like robots. those banks have now halted foreclosures, in some cases nationwide. and judge schack claims he's seen more robosigners, at other
banks, that could make matters worse. but bank of america, which services 14 million mortgages, rebecca mairone says they're responding. >> we want to make sure that all of our processes, whether it's affidavit signing or whether it's notary or whether its other foreclosure processes, are met 100% of the time on requirements, based on our assessment we do believe that the underlying facts of the foreclosure in the decisions are accurate. we are working to ensure that our processes and procedures are following the guidelines and requirements at this time. >> reporter: so it means that you might have used so-called robo-signers, but that doesn't really invalidate the paperwork itself? >> yeah, the underlying facts of the foreclosures and the data is accurate. >> reporter: but "legally accurate," asks judge schack. all of them? >> my concern is if you're going to take away somebody's house, let's follow the law when we do this, so let's have it done correctly. >> but so much of this is legal boilerplate anyway. i mean, i punch "agree" to all
sorts of stuff online that i never read. >> by signing your name, it says you did, you read it and you agreed to it. but the point is with these documents, when it's an affidavit of merit it means that the person has said, is swearing that they're familiar with the facts of the case and if they're not then it becomes very, very questionable as to whether it's legally correct. >> reporter: because if they didn't do that, then any numbers could be in there. of course, why not have mickey mouse sign the thing instead of having a human being sign it. i mean, it becomes meaningless. i mean, that's the whole concept behind this getting a judgment, is that everything is truthful. if we don't know if it's truthful, why are we even signing this stuff? >> reporter: the problems judge schack spotted years ago have since spawned their own industry. >> we want to show you what the real deal is. >> reporter: from his sleepy home base in shelby, north carolina, max gardner runs barrister boot camps. lawyers from all over the country flock to the sherlock of shelby to deduce the facts of foreclosure, no longer
elementary in this era of complex securitized mortgages. >> you've got the originator, the sponsor, the depositor, the trustee. >> reporter: in the process of securitization, mortgages were gathered into a pool, which was then used as collateral for the now infamous investments, mortgage backed securities. but it turns out that, in the several steps of the process, a key one may often have been neglected: legally transferring or assigning the mortgages from the original lender, on through to the tax-exempt trust that issued the securities. >> there was this great demand to generate more mortgages, and i think that with that demand came a lack of due diligence and proper underwriting and proper compliance with all the rules they had set up. >> reporter: california lawyer walter hackett spent 27 years in the banking industry. >> when they tried to
industrialize the loan securitization market, this is really what they did, they tried to automate everything they could. they started digitizing loan documents and shredding originals. >> reporter: making it harder, says hackett, to track the transfers. >> and, of course, what that means is we have no clue who owns what. >> reporter: what's emerging today, say consumer lawyers, is an industry trying to cover its tracks on loans gone bad. >> what we're doing is using the documents that the securitized trust created, the business model that they created themselves, and were saying: did you do things the way that you said you did it? >> reporter: if not, the ownership of the mortgage is in question and banks may be forced to negotiate. consider the case of sandra orosco, facing foreclosure from a new bank after judge schack threw out her case three years ago. so who owns the loan now? >> bank america supposedly.
>> reporter: but you're not sure. >> well, the whole thing is real unsure right now since the information i got a couple of days ago, so i'm like... >> reporter: orosco's case is absolutely typical: she doesn't know who owns the loan, bank of america only services it. and indeed, for the vast majority of foreclosures triggered by boom-era mortgages, legal ownership is now in limbo, says lawyer walter hackett. >> just from what ive seen in >> just from what i've seen in california i would say its somewhere around for sure 65% conservatively, the number might be much higher. >> reporter: april charney, a jacksonville florida legal aid attorney, is a pioneer in the field of fighting foreclosure. >> we have case review once a week from our intake and we have walk-in intake basically into our program-- thousands, and not one of them has shown the paperwork. in fact, i call out to my classes of the lawyers that i
train: if you can show me a proper transfer from an originating lender to the first bankruptcy remote vehicle i will eat the paper. and i haven't eaten any paper at all. >> reporter: north carolina's max gardner says that of the thousands of cases he's been involved with. >> i have never seen a complete unbroken chain. >> reporter: but the point isn't to freeze all foreclosures, says gardner. it's to finally force banks to offer loan modifications that clients can afford. >> a lot of those cases when we really pressed the other side hard for those documents they came back with a very favorable settlement offer in the case that would substantially reduce the principle debt, reduce the interest maybe from 12% or 14% to 2% or 3%, you know paid my legal fees so the consumer wouldn't have to pay that, and give the consumer an affordable loan.
>> you cannot have millions of americans getting free homes. we're done as a country if that happens. but i think lenders or whoever will come to the table in droves when we start getting some of these cases decided in our favor, and ultimately we will. >> reporter: that's what patricia antrobus is hoping for. after judge schack ruled in her favor three years ago, her mortgage was modified, modestly. but with her tenants still out of work, the terms proved too tough. she's four months behind on her payments; another mortgage reduction, her only shot. >> the whole time that i've dealt with this whole situation i've always felt like that small, you know like david and goliath but i don't have a rock and a slingshot. >> reporter: with the admission of document shenanigans, like millions of homeowners might finally have the ammunition they've so long lacked.
>> brown: now, to campaign politics and the first of several stories from our "patchwork nation" project. we've been reporting-- on air and online-- on how the recession is affecting different types of communities across the united states. special correspondent betsy stark will visit three rust belt states between now and election day. she begins with young voters in indiana. ♪ >> i-u! >> reporter: indiana university, bloomington, indiana. hoosier country. ♪ home to big 10 sports. and big 10 spirit. ♪ john philip sousa once called the i.u. marching band one of the snappiest in the country. and this year, its fight songs are fitting background music for one of the most competitive congressional contests in the country.
election 2010 has an entire course devoted to it at i.u. on the day we visited, the class was gaming the toss-up in the 9th. a race that pits democratic incumbent baron hill, a state basketball hall-of-famer who has served the 9th district for 10 of the last 12 years against republican challenger todd young, a local prosecutor and former marine. the nearly 40,000 students on this campus make up a hugely influential voting bloc. how many of you were fired up to vote ñnvhe last election? >> reporter: an historic turnout of i.u. students in 2008 helped
candidate obama squeak out a victory in the state and helped baron hill win the district by a nearly 20% margin, no small feat in a part of the state otherwise so conservative the district as a whole went for john mccain. i.u. college democrat kelly smith helped get out the 2008 vote. >> we registered 11,000 people >> we won indiana. indiana went blue by 11,000 votes. we registered 11,000 people on this campus. so something that we like to say is, like, that felt like a direct impact to us. and that really got people linked into the process. >> reporter: bloomington is the most populous, the most liberal, and the most economically affluent part of the district. but the 9th, like many districts, is a true cultural and political patchwork, according to dante chinni, head of the "patchwork nation" project.
>> it's tough and most districts are like this. there's only 435 of them. you slice the country up, it's kind of hard to make sense of them. >> reporter: drive south in the 9th toward kentucky, and things look a world away from bloomington. indiana's 9th district makes up much of southern indiana along the kentucky border and the ohio river. north of that, here in jackson county, are vast stretches of farmland and deep pockets of frustration with government. friday night football in tiny brownstown, indiana, we got an earful across the street at the church chili supper in the school gym. what do you think of the job they've doing in washington over the last couple of years? >> i think it stinks. >> reporter: why do you think it stinks?
>> we got too many career politicians. they're out of touch with the american people. >> reporter: you feel that way about baron hill, too? >> absolutely. he's had his chances. >> reporter: driving along indiana route 50, we came across a group of citizens marching to bench baron hill. >> he voted cap and trade, he voted for the stimulus, he voted the health care, he voted for everything that we're against. >> i've got 11 grandkids and i just don't want to see them stuck with all this debt we've run up. >> reporter: so you're holding him accountable for the trillion dollar deficit? >> absolutely, absolutely. >> reporter: they plan to march in protest every friday until election day.
baron hill also faces an uphill battle in scottsburg, a small town still reeling from the long decline in manufacturing that has sent thousands of indiana jobs to mexico and china. >> fear is as present in the 9th district as it is anyplace in the nation. and people in the 9th district are concerned that pelosi and obama and other democrats are taking this country in the wrong direction. >> reporter: how it all turns out in the 9th may well depend, once again, on the students of i.u. >> reporter: how many of you think the democrats have done some good things and they just need more time to make them work? the politically engaged students in this class believe the stakes in this election are just as high as they were in the last one.
but their teacher thinks they're the exception. what's your sense of this campus more broadly? are these students fired up to vote? >> no, i think most of them don't even know there's an election. >> reporter: they don't even know there's an election? >> yeah, if they know, it's not a bit part of their day to day lives right now. it's not like a big event. 2008 was a big event. >> yeah, i've definitely heard the same thing. >> reporter: at the university radio station, young democrats are worrying about the enthusiasm gap on the air. >> i was talking about the mid- terms with a friend of mine and he was like, you mean exams? and i'm like, no, i don't mean exams! >> reporter: rachel curley called out baron hill on her weekly program for not doing more to energize the campus. >> correct me if i'm wrong on this but i don't see baron hill doing a whole lot to really grab the student vote at i.u. and i feel like that's a huge deal.
>> reporter: it's all an opportunity for challenger todd young. >> he's been at our college republicans meetings a lot, he's got a big presence on campus, so it's exciting to see a candidate like todd young put emphasis on college students even though traditionally you would think of college students as a more liberal group. ♪ >> the liberals are still the majority on campus. but as we heard again and again, they seem to be sleeping through this mid-term election season. and not even a marching band may be able to wake them up. >> brown: in her next report, betsy stark will look at an economically-battered swing district in ohio, another critical battleground this election season. >> lehrer: and to a conversation with walter mondale. he was a u.s. senator from minnesota and then vice president under jimmy carter 1977 to 1981. judy woodruff talked with him
earlier this week. >> woodruff: the former vice president has collected his memories in "the good fight, a life in liberal politics." mr. vice president, good to have you with us. >> thank you, judy, delighted to be here. >> woodruff: a lot of public figures write books after they leave elected office. you've chose on the wait 30 years. i'm tempted to ask what the rush. (laughter) but instead i'm going to ask what took you so long? >> well, i didn't want to write it for years for three our four reasons. i didn't want to hurt people. if i'm going to tell the truth, i'm going to step on some toes. i wanted to do it at a time when i felt comfortable in doing it. secondly, as i look back in my history i found this urge more and more to spell it out because the more you think about it, the more you realize how the past is prologue, how these things we went through maybe 25 years ago
are right back with us again today. so i think history does teach a lot here. >> woodruff: you do write about your exextraordinary journey to the pinnacle of american politics and you call your time the high tide of american liberalism. >> yes. >> woodruff: why has the tide gone out, do you think? >> well, i think we had our chance. we adopted all kinds of legislation. politics is cyclic kl, people wanted to slow down a little bit and review and consolidate. that was the reagan era and i think they were having their high tide then and then it started coming back under obama, but then i think the pressure of the problems, the overwhelming nature of the challenges we have now has caused americans to want to step back and look a little bit. we had that time when we had 68
senators on the democratic side, we had a liberal court under earl warren, we had hubert humphrey and lyndon johnson in the white house and we were getting things done. >> woodruff: and today the word "liberal" is practically a dirty word. what's happened? >> you know, i don't know. i think liberal is the word that we started out with when i was a young democrat and i was a liberal. and we were proud to call ourselves that. then i think the idea got confused with kind of license. you know, people were liberal with other people's money. people were liberal with life-styles. people were... it became a word that had a sting to it. whereas people started calling themselves progressive. i think it's the same thing. >> woodruff: you were given unprecedented responsibilities as the vice president under jimmy carter, a model that i think a lot of vice presidents-- if not all of them-- have followed since then. even under republicans.
dick cheney is an example. is that the model that you created? >> the model we established of executivizing the vice president, putting the vice president in there with the president, working with him all day long as i did has been the model since then. i would take some exception with mr. cheney because as i often say, you know, we told the truth, we made the law... obey it had law and we kept the peace. and i think cheney can be rightfully criticized for using the kind of privilege and the secrecy of the vice president's office to go on to the dark side, as he called it. where we had a record of disregarding the law, pressing the truth, i thought. and so i don't want to be identified with that chapter if i can avoid it. >> woodruff: well, you also write that president carter made mistakes, caused you to have your most serious disagreements with him. what did he not get the? not see as president?
>> you know, i love carter and that's in the book. we had a dustup over the... what they call the malaise speech. in fact, the speech he gave, i thought, was a good one. but we got into a big debate at camp david about just what would be in that speech and i probably lost my temper a little bit and... but we resolved it and i write about it very candidly in my book. >> woodruff: he also has said recently that he holds the late senator kennedy responsible for the fact that you were not able during the carter administration to pass comprehensive health care reform. now, ted kennedy has written differently. you were there. >> yes. >> woodruff: is president carter write about that? that ted kennedy's responsible? >> i write about it, too. you know, i'm in the bind where i like carter, i worked with him
and i liked ted and i worked with with him. and i think there is some truth to the fact that we had some up with some health care proposals that were doable at that time that would have been progress and ted, who was getting ready to run for president, opposed them. and i think that the carter proposal that he presented was a good proposal, it would have been progress. >> woodruff: if senator kennedy had gone along? >> yeah. >> woodruff: so you're siding with president carter? >> yes, on this. yes. but i... as long as we're on it. you know, i worked with ted kennedy, you understand our record, so this is not... i'm not trying to start a fight here. >> woodruff: it's not personal. you said a minute ago lessons from the carter presidency that might... that would apply today. if president obama were to ask you for advice-- and maybe he has-- what would you say to him about lessons you've learned? >> i would say, too, that i've
raised publicly and i talk about in the book is the... one is that we're in a post-partisan era where politics doesn't break down on partisan line and i just don't think that's accurate. and i think we lost a lot of time in early obama administration's not getting... dealing with the reality. and secondly the idea that congress can take these measures and just sort of act on their own and send it to the president without heavy intervention by the white house. i think even if you've got your own congress, a president has to get on top of that congress and drive them with specific proposals and all the rest. those are the two i'd say substantial differences. i think obama is doing a great job under terrible circumstances. >> woodruff: what do you think he needs to focus on now, especially coming out of these elections which may be difficult for democrats. >> people are really hurting and they're not sure of where we're
going. obama is brilliant and almost everything he's doing i agree with. but somehow he's i don't think connecting and there's a kind of ... well, a sort of lack of apparent empathy. and i think people want to get up every morning thinking well maybe he can't do anything about this but i know he's thinking about it. a famous guy standing when roosevelt's train went by carrying his dead body and they said "did you know rues snrelt" he said "no, but roosevelt knew me." and i think that two-way connection is sometimes not strongly made now. >> woodruff: you even said in an interview the other day you thought he relies on the teleprompter too much. >> and i think that also can be a distraction. if he's not looking at the audience but instead jumping back and forth, yes, i do think that affects his/x message. >> woodruff: so you are saying
there are physical things a president can do that make a difference? >> well, that's a minor point but i said it and it got some news. he's got the message, he's got the policies but he's got to find a way of people knowing that he's really trying to connect with them and thinking about them all the time. i think that's what we need now. >> woodruff: former vice president walter mondale. the book is "the good fight: a life in liberal politics." thank you very much for coming by. >> thank, judy. >> woodruff: we appreciate i. >> thank you. >> brown: here's a distribution of something called "california is a place."
>> i'm devil ray. >> and i'm zachary and we are the creators of "california is a place." an online series of short-form documentaries about the golden state. >> when we started the project if 2009, foreclosures were something that, you know, everyone was dealing with, we're talking about, if they weren't affected by it personally, they knew someone who was and the visual focus of these abandoned swimming pools to us was just mesmerizing. it was something that was deeply personal. i mean, people lived in these homes for years and years and all of a s.u.d. therein's nobody there. but you can see sort of the remnants of pham a family's life in these backyards. meanwhile, you know, on the other hand it was this opportunity for these skaters of fresno. and i think that's what really ultimately interested us in the cannon ball story was trying to bring the life and example of something that we haven't seen. you know, usually you talk to the homeowners or you talk to
the real estate brokers and talk to the other people that are directly affect bud there's so many other people that either affected by the foreclosure crisis or have taken advantage of it. >> i remember i kept my eye on this one for so long. first day i seen a u-haul there, next day i went and dropped the pump in the middle of the night and drained it. i don't feel bad for them. i feel glad for me. skating in pools. it's awesome. if we're gonna be doing this kind of stuff where we're trespassing in people's yards and skating these pools we've got to have respect. clean the pools out any trash we bring take it with us when we leave. like, people already look down on us as it is so there's no reason to confirm what they already think is true. it would be better to prove them wrong. >> it's important that we find characters that are at one sided
maybe people think they know what they're all about and give those characters a chance to speak for themselves and be like human. >> we got cars, cars, cars! every scandalous situation you have ever heard of. every terrible impression you've ever heard of about car salesmen, it's true! come and see me! we're all here! we're gonna sit you down, bring your pink slip and checkbook and if you don't have one, we'll give you one. >> rich lieberman, a.k.a. big vinnie is a used car salesman, or was a used car salesman in alameda, california, for 25 years. and when we first met him, he had recently been let go from the company that he'd been working for, a family-owned used car sales business and had been moved back in with his mom and really had no job prospects. and what's more telling than the death of the used car business
than the guy named big vinny having to move back in with his mother. >> this business is like no other business in the world. it's not for everybody. it's the ultimate in just absolute rejection personified. most times you're gonna fail. it's like the greatest baseball player in the world that makes the hall of fame fails seven out of ten times because they're a .300 hitter they're going to make it to the hall of fame. imagine that mind-set when you're trying to sell a car in the car business. you're going to have more failure. >> when we're looking for stories, we often start with sort of big issues, big themes that california and many other states are dealing with. and what we've been trying to do with our films is get down to sort of the base level. get down to the man on the street level.
and try to find people who can just share with us their personal experiences on these issues to try to sort of better understand them. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: 33 miners recovered in a hospital in chile, as the world celebrated their rescue. new figures show lenders foreclosed on more u.s. homes this summer than any three-month stretch since the housing bust began. and obama administration and and to hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: there's more about the foreclosure crisis on paul solman's "making sense" page. plus, you can send in your questions about the legal tangle surrounding the mortgage mess. on our politics page, browse "patchwork nation's" interactive map and enter your zip code to learn more about your county and community type. plus on "art beat," jeff talks to the winner of the man booker prize for fiction, author howard jacobson. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight.
i'm jeffrey brown. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you on-line. and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i do a lot of exercise, but, basically, i'm a runner. last year, i had a bum knee that needed surgery, but it got complicated because i had an old injury. so, i wanted a doctor who had done this before. and united healthcare's database helped me find a surgeon. you know, you can't have great legs, if you don't have good knees. >> we're 78,000 people looking out for 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. united healthcare. >> and by the bill and melinda
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